Google and Salesforce announced today that they’re releasing the Force.com Tool for Google APIs, a library that allows developers using Salesforce’s Force.com platform to access the data in Google Apps. Like the Google-Salesforce partnership announced in April, this deal should benefit both companies — Force.com gets better applications, and Google gets another push into the larger businesses where it’s trying to make inroads with Google Apps.
The two companies were already working together, so not only could the users of Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) service already access Google Apps from within the Salesforce.com interface, Force.com developers could already create applications that integrated Google Apps. The new toolkit makes the process smoother, however, by allowing the creation of applications that access the data directly. Developers can use Apex code to access the APIs (application programming interfaces) for the Google’s Contacts, Calendar, Spreadsheets, Documents and Blogger tools.
For example, a company called CODA has already created a sample app that allows their customers to input their data into Google Spreadsheet, then move it to the CODA 2go financial tool with the click of a button. One of the big selling points here appears to be ease-of-use; on its developer blog, Salesforce just posted an entry showing that a developer can pull events from Google Calendar with only five lines of code.
This integration should continue to make Google Apps more useful and popular in a business environment — where some companies are skeptical about whether Google’s relatively lightweight, online applications can meet their needs — particularly since Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff sounds lukewarm about a similar partnership with Microsoft. Of course, it will only pay off for Salesforce if businesses actually care about integration with Google Apps. But since the six of the top 10 applications sold on Salesforce’s AppExchange are Google-related, it looks like businesses do.
The project is free and open source, and is hosted at code.google.com.